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Article

Increasing Environmental Health Literacy through Contextual Learning in Communities at Risk

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Department of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies, University of Arizona, 1430 E. Second St, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
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Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science, University of Arizona, 1177 E. Fourth St, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
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Water Resources Research Center, University of Arizona, 350 N. Campbell Ave, Tucson, AZ 85719, USA
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Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, Health Promotion Sciences Department, University of Arizona, 1295 N. Martin Ave, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(10), 2203; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15102203
Received: 16 September 2018 / Revised: 3 October 2018 / Accepted: 5 October 2018 / Published: 9 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
Environmental health literacy (EHL) has recently been defined as the continuum of environmental health knowledge and awareness, skills and self-efficacy, and community action. In this study, an interdisciplinary team of university scientists, partnering with local organizations, developed and facilitated EHL trainings with special focus on rainwater harvesting and water contamination, in four communities with known environmental health stressors in Arizona, USA. These participatory trainings incorporated participants’ prior environmental health risk knowledge and personal experiences to co-create training content. Mixed methods evaluation was conducted via pre-post participant surveys in all four trainings (n = 53). Participants who did not demonstrate baseline environmental science knowledge pre-training demonstrated significant knowledge increase post-training, and participants who demonstrated low self-efficacy (SE) pre-training demonstrated a significant increase in SE post-training. Participants overall demonstrated a significant increase in specific environmental health skills described post-training. The interdisciplinary facilitator-scientist team also reported multiple benefits, including learning local knowledge that informed further research, and building trust relationships with community members for future collaboration. We propose contextual EHL education as a valuable strategy for increasing EHL in environmental health risk communities, and for building academia-community partnerships for environmental health research and action. View Full-Text
Keywords: environmental health literacy; environmental health risk; informal education; contextual learning; rainwater harvesting; program evaluation; hazardous waste sites; environmental justice communities environmental health literacy; environmental health risk; informal education; contextual learning; rainwater harvesting; program evaluation; hazardous waste sites; environmental justice communities
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MDPI and ACS Style

Davis, L.F.; Ramirez-Andreotta, M.D.; McLain, J.E.T.; Kilungo, A.; Abrell, L.; Buxner, S. Increasing Environmental Health Literacy through Contextual Learning in Communities at Risk. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 2203. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15102203

AMA Style

Davis LF, Ramirez-Andreotta MD, McLain JET, Kilungo A, Abrell L, Buxner S. Increasing Environmental Health Literacy through Contextual Learning in Communities at Risk. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2018; 15(10):2203. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15102203

Chicago/Turabian Style

Davis, Leona F.; Ramirez-Andreotta, Mónica D.; McLain, Jean E.T.; Kilungo, Aminata; Abrell, Leif; Buxner, Sanlyn. 2018. "Increasing Environmental Health Literacy through Contextual Learning in Communities at Risk" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 15, no. 10: 2203. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15102203

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